Writing : Research in Education: Qualitative and Quantitative

Respond to Kim and Mary's discussion board.

Kim: There are many differences between qualitative and quantitative research studies in education. For example, quantitative research studies are statistical and deal mainly with numbers and measurements (Lauer, p. 30). They focus more on student achievement such as test scores and easily measured data. They answer questions such as: How many students received a score of 60% or better? What percentage of the students were proficient in math obtaining a 80% or better? Qualitative research, on the other hand, focuses on more subjective data such as: opinions, interviews, and observations. This data is analyzed and then converted into numbers. Qualitative research is usually conducted in a more natural environment than quantitative research (Lauer, p. 31). Qualitative research is also usually conducted through case studies.

Both of these types of studies are very valuable. Having exact data results is great and easily measured to see if something is working, but also having teachers’ opinions or even students opinions and input is very valuable. These types of research projects can help teachers figure out what works best for some students and what else to try for others. I am a firm believer that ALL MEANS ALL. So yes, my numbers look great if 75% of my students meet or exceed their state test scores, but what about the ones that didn't? I need to figure out another way to get through to those students and having qualitative research might be the answer I'm looking for.

Mary: Quantitative data and qualitative data are both used in experimental research in the educational field. Quantitative data can be used to measure dependent variables in experimental research (Laurer, p. 24). For example, a dependent variable can be classroom assessment scores, student dropout rates and student’s responses to motivation surveys can help to see how to improve student achievement. The qualitative data also measures dependent variables but is not used as much. The qualitative data is converted to numbers (Lauer, p. 24). For example, it can be used to measure how teachers educate their students after receiving professional development. After being observed, the findings can be changed to a number rating. This can help to see how teachers are improving in different test groups. Qualitative data can narratively show a cause and effect but turning that information into numbers (inferential statistics) can make a clearer picture for the research (Lauer, p. 24). Unfortunately, any research that is done that has no positive effect is less likely to get published. However, teachers need to know what works and what doesn’t work.

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